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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Bmi-1 collaborates with c-Myc in tumorigenesis by inhibiting c-Myc-induced apoptosis via INK4a/ARF.

The bmi-1 and myc oncogenes collaborate strongly in murine lymphomagenesis, but the basis for this collaboration was not understood. We recently identified the ink4a-ARF tumor suppressor locus as a critical downstream target of the Polycomb-group transcriptional repressor Bmi-1. Others have shown that part of Myc's ability to induce apoptosis depends on induction of p19arf. Here we demonstrate that down-regulation of ink4a-ARF by Bmi-1 underlies its ability to cooperate with Myc in tumorigenesis. Heterozygosity for bmi-1 inhibits lymphomagenesis in Emu-myc mice by enhancing c-Myc-induced apoptosis. We observe increased apoptosis in bmi-1(-/-) lymphoid organs, which can be rescued by deletion of ink4a-ARF or overexpression of bcl2. Furthermore, Bmi-1 collaborates with Myc in enhancing proliferation and transformation of primary embryo fibroblasts (MEFs) in an ink4a-ARF dependent manner, by prohibiting Myc-mediated induction of p19arf and apoptosis. We observe strong collaboration between the Emu-myc transgene and heterozygosity for ink4a-ARF, which is accompanied by loss of the wild-type ink4a-ARF allele and formation of highly aggressive B-cell lymphomas. Together, these results reinforce the critical role of Bmi-1 as a dose-dependent regulator of ink4a-ARF, which on its turn acts to prevent tumorigenesis on activation of oncogenes such as c-myc.[1]


  1. Bmi-1 collaborates with c-Myc in tumorigenesis by inhibiting c-Myc-induced apoptosis via INK4a/ARF. Jacobs, J.J., Scheijen, B., Voncken, J.W., Kieboom, K., Berns, A., van Lohuizen, M. Genes Dev. (1999) [Pubmed]
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